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Richmond mayor urges people to stop removing statues for sake of public safety

Almost 113 years to the day, the Jefferson Davis statue is no longer towering over Richmond. It went up on June 3, 1907, and came down on June 10, 2020. (Source: NBC12)
Almost 113 years to the day, the Jefferson Davis statue is no longer towering over Richmond. It went up on June 3, 1907, and came down on June 10, 2020. (Source: NBC12)(WHSV)
Published: Jun. 11, 2020 at 1:10 PM EDT
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Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney is urging people to stop removing statues after a recent string of overnight incidents in the city.

Over recent nights, three Richmond statues have been removed from their pedestals, including

pulled down Wednesday night. He’s urging citizens to allow the legal process to play out for statue removal in the name of public safety.

That was the third statue to be brought down by protesters in recent days after the

and a Confederate general

were also torn down. On Tuesday night, the Christoper Columbus statue was ripped from its foundation, spray painted, and then set on fire

.

The statue of Gen. Williams Carter Wickham was pulled from its pedestal in Monroe Park late Saturday night, with a rope tied around it and someone reportedly urinating on it after it was pulled down. Photos and video from The Richmond Times-Dispatch showed the what appeared to be red paint splashed or sprayed on the statue.

In a series of tweets, Stoney said, “Jefferson Davis was a racist & traitor who fled our city as his troops carried out orders to burn it to the ground. He never deserved to be up on that pedestal. July 1, we will begin the process the state requires to remove these monuments to the Old Richmond of a Lost Cause.”

He went on to say, “For the sake of public safety, I ask the community to allow us to legally contract to have the remaining ones removed professionally, to prevent any potential harm that could result from attempts to remove them without professional experience.”

As Richmond protesters tore down the Jefferson Davis statue Wednesday night, elsewhere in Virginia, in Portsmouth, as other protesters chipped away at a Confederate monument,

, seriously injuring him and leaving him in a coma, according to friends and family.

Stoney also said, “I will push for us to waste no time on this and to make it happen as soon as possible. Richmond, we will finish the job of removing these antiquated symbols of racism and hate. Jefferson Davis is gone this morning, but it’s going to be a lot harder to dismantle the racism he and his peers embodied and institutionalized. That’s what this city will keep working toward."

Mayor Stoney announced last week that he was

, though the Robert E. Lee monument is on state-owned property, which is why its removal was

and is now subject to two separate lawsuits and a temporary injunction.

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